Thursday, December 20, 2007

Cheaper Solar Cell Power

Solar Cell energy production is 4-10 times more expensive than fossil fuel energy. That's what I calculated some time ago if I remember correct. Yesterday I read this hopeful article. It sounds like a decent breakthrough.

"The company, which has raised $150 million and built a 200,000-square-foot factory here, is developing a new manufacturing process that “prints” photovoltaic material on aluminum backing, a process the company says will reduce the manufacturing cost of the basic photovoltaic module by more than 80 percent.
Nanosolar, which recently hired a top manufacturing executive from I.B.M., said that it had orders for its first 18 months of manufacturing capacity. The photovoltaic panels will be made in Silicon Valley and in a second plant in Germany.
Nanosolar’s founder and chief executive, Martin Roscheisen, claims to be the first solar panel manufacturer to be able to profitably sell solar panels for less than $1 a watt. That is the price at which solar energy becomes less expensive than coal.
“With a $1-per-watt panel,” he said, “it is possible to build $2-per-watt systems.”
According to the Energy Department, building a new coal plant costs about $2.1 a watt, plus the cost of fuel and emissions, he said." - New York Times
It is not very efficient, but very cheap. Let's hope their optimistic words are somewhat true! Solar power can explode when it becomes cheaper than normal coal plants.

1 comment:

cybrbeast said...

I've read about this a few days ago. Very promising stuff. Their first factory is supposed to produce enough solar panels in a year to add a quarter to the total solar use today.